Leaving Milan is always restorative, especially in the early days of spring, and especially if the destination is a familiar place that offers a fresh perspective with every visit.

I have been traveling to the French Riviera for many years, and have specifically gotten to know the stretch of coast from Cannes to Saint-Raphael, some ten kilometers from the sea, where the red rocks blend into the green of the Mediterranean shrubbery and where, despite the area’s popularity as a tourist resort, one can still find secluded and impressive hiking trails every season.

Coming here, even just for a few days, gives me a chance to devote time to myself and the important things that urban life allows me to neglect. Physical activity, good cooking, reading, and beautiful nature are key ingredients for refreshing the mind and soul.

I particularly like the footpaths along the coast where high cliffs do not allow easy access to the sea. In this region, the variety of plants create breathtaking landscapes, and the lush period between March and April is decidedly the most scenic. During this time, the plants begin to reveal the intense green of their new leaves that, not yet bleached by the sun to a green/silver tone, create an even bolder contrast with the red, iron-rich rocks.

The muted colors of the Mediterranean shrubland alternate with the vibrant blooms in the villa gardens. This area is characterized by cork oaks and sea pines, which share the space with very developed shrubs of Pumice and Pitosphorus, creating a dense backdrop embroidered with punches of color from lavender, wild Geraniums, Erika and Genziana.

A walk in this environment stimulates all the senses, but for urban dwellers like me, most notably the sense of smell. A fusion of floral fragrances combine with the fresh sea air to invade the nostrils with pleasant and stimulating nuances of scent.

Returning to everyday reality is always tough after such getaways, but as far as I am concerned, there is no better way to recharge and reconnect with one’s inspiration after a long period of gray and frantic city life.